Posts Tagged With: nepal

Successes in the Poaching War?


Graph 1 Kenya

Kenya has been successfully slowing the rate of poaching over the last 2 years. Government is motivated and serious; in 2013 enacting the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act, helping to strengthen the judicial system.

Although there is still work to be done, the overall numbers are promising. Elephant poaching is down 80%, and rhino poaching down 90%.

South Africa

Graph 3 South Africa

South Africa’s poaching rate has seen a slight decrease in reported numbers for the first time since 2008; yet remains dangerously high. Home to 80% of the world’s remaining rhinos, Kruger National Park sees the most poachings. Yet incidents outside the Park are on the rise, with poachers attacking smaller, more vulnerable private owners.

White rhinos @Kruger National Park

White rhinos @Kruger National Park


Graph 2 India

In 2015, there were 17 reported poaching in Kaziranga National Park; the largest of  four wildlife parks and sanctuaries in Assam, India; home to 90% of the remaining Greater one-horned rhinos.

Poaching seems to fluctuate here. One of the main triggers of higher poaching directly correlates with encroachers around the Kaziranga National Park. The more widespread the number, the higher the poachings.

Graph 4 Nepal

                                The red is poaching deaths, the green is natural mortality.

2015 marked the third year of Zero poaching in Nepal (2011 and 2013 were the other two)

With 10 national parks, 3 wildlife reserves and 6 conservation areas, Nepal is setting the standard for conservation efforts worldwide. The government is committed to conserving it’s wildlife. With emphasis on community involvement, Nepal has entrusted about one third of it’s forests to the people. With local “policing” of the land and animals, not only has poaching stopped, there has been a reduction of poverty as well.

The absence of poaching has led to a 21% increase in the species of the greater one-horned rhinos.

greater one horn and baby assam forest

Greater one-horn (or Indian) rhinos @Kaziranga National Park

Graphs from: Poachingfacts


Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The History of Rhino Poaching

To think an animal’s body part is worth its weight in gold is mind-blowing to say the least. So how did this lucrative practice begin? Who decided a rhinoceros horn is the key to solving all ailments?

17th century rhino horn cups

17th century Chinese cups carved from rhino horn

In Greek mythology, rhino horns were said to possess the ability to purify water. The Persians from the 5th century BC used carved vessels from horn to detect poisoned liquids. This belief stuck and existed well into the 18th and 19th centuries among European royalty.

Between  100 BC and 200 AD during the Ming and Ching dynasties, the Chinese thought the same. They used the horn in carvings of plates, bowls and cups. The cups being especially prized to detect alkaloid poisoning, something that was treacherously common at the time.


Traditional Yemen dagger

Reports of Yemens’ use of the horn dates back to the 8th century. Although their fondness of horn is preferred in decorative use as opposed to medicinal. It is fashioned into ceremonial dagger handles known as jambiyas . This is a status symbol for young men. It epitomizes manhood. The quality of the horn was important because it possesses a translucent quality, that only improves with age.

The use of the horn for medicinal purposes was recorded as early as 1597, in the Chinese “Pen Ts’ao Kang Mu”.  In it there are mentions such as “the best horn is from a freshly killed male” and “pregnant women should not take horn as it will kill the foetus”. It also lists the many uses of horn ranging from stopping nightmares and curing possessions to curing headaches and dissolving phlegm.

rhino horn medicine

Chinese “medicine” made from horn

In earlier time it was not just the horn, but also blood, and urine used for medicine. This was a commonality of the Chinese, Burmese, Thai, and Nepalis.

In the early 1980s, it was even used as an aphrodisiac by the people of India. This myth probably stems from the fact that breeding pairs stay together for two to three days, and sometimes even weeks. Mating takes place several times a day and lasts for an hour or more at a time.

rhinos mating 2The earliest reports of horn trade (in addition to tortoise shell and ivory) were reported as leaving ancient East Africa for Arabia in 50 AD.

Throughout the history of trade, various countries have been involved: Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Yemen, China, Hong Kong, Sumatra, Singapore, Thailand, Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa are the most prominent. Various efforts have been made in these countries to legalize and/or ban the trade as well.

What is the most interesting point in the history of the horn trade is that during times horn could be legally traded, illegal trade still flourished.

Thirty species of rhino once roamed the planet. Now  thousands of years later, there remain just five. Human greed, consumption and ignorance have cost the rhino. They are teetering on the brink of extinction. Will history teach us nothing?

rhino cave painting

Chauvet cave, France- rhino cave painting dating back 30,000 BP (before present time recordings).

Information obtained from TRAFFIC and Richard Ellis: Poaching for Traditional Chinese Medicine

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Nepal Rhinos at the epicenter

The tragedy following Nepal’s earthquake has devastated the country. Home to about 500 greater one-horned rhinos, what effect has this had on conservation efforts of their population?

The World Wildlife Foundation has about 100 people working on conservation efforts across the country. According to WWF,

 “Amid the heart-breaking human tragedy of this earthquake, my colleagues in Nepal have done their best to continue their work, and have recently shared a bit of welcome conservation news – that rhino populations in the country are increasing. They will have much work to do over the following months – rebuilding their homes and communities. But this achievement gives me great hope for the recovery that will come.”

The rhino population has increased by a fifth. This news comes after announcing the country has achieved 365 days of NO POACHING of rhinos for the third time in five years. This is no small feat considering rhinos in South Africa are being hit hard with what will be another record year of poaching.

Anil Manandhar, country representative of WWF Nepal, which supported the count, said: “These are trying times for Nepal and its people. Stories such as this indeed shine a much-needed ray of hope.

greater one horned in chitwan by vivek raj maurya

Greater one-horned in Chitwan National Park, home to the second largest rhino population in the world.  Photo: Vivek Raj Maurya





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Nepal: What’s Their Secret?

What do conservationists dream of? What would non-profit groups like more than anything? To find a new line of work because poaching is no longer a threat.

Nepal has claimed to have accomplished just that. For 365 days, there has not been one tiger, rhino or elephant killed via poaching. In 2012 only one rhino was lost, and in 2011 there were no animals lost.  It seems almost too good to be true.

The Tiger population has increased over the last four years from 121 to 198; and in a 2011 census rhinos have increased from 425 to 534. 

You can’t argue with the numbers. So what is Nepal doing differently?

Conservation Ethic 

Nepal youth gather to support anti-poaching. (WWF)

Nepal youth gather to support anti-poaching. (WWF)

There has been collaboration on all fronts.

Through community education and incentives, the people have learned to appreciate and value the wildlife. 50 cents per dollar of tourism actually goes straight to the people. This financial benefit makes the rhino, tiger and elephant more valuable ALIVE.

In addition, it gives the people a sense of pride and ownership over their wildlife, which in itself serves as a deterrent to poaching within the community. No man wants to be known as the one who took away money from his village by poaching.

Zero Tolerance

Nepal has put more rangers on the ground. Today, according to BBC, at least a thousand Nepalese soldiers patrol Chitwan from more than 40 posts. But perhaps most importantly the government has empowered those rangers.

Nepalese wildlife rangers track a radio-collared rhino. (Nat Geographic)

Nepalese wildlife rangers track a radio-collared rhino. (Nat Geographic)

According to John Sellar, an organized crime consultant,

“Nepal’s forest law empowers district forest officers and chief wildlife wardens to deal with offenders and impose prison sentences of up to 14 or 15 years.

“Whilst this scenario might seem at odds with other judicial systems,” Sellar says, “probably its greatest advantage is that it means that any poacher who is caught can expect to be dealt with much quicker than in other countries suffering high levels of poaching, where court systems regularly have lengthy backlogs and where, currently, insufficient deterrence is present.”

Strong Leadership and Cooperation

Nepal’s prime minister chairs the national wildlife crime control bureau. The government also has positive partnerships with WWF, National Trust for Nature Conservation, and has been supportive of the Global Tiger Initiative.

Nepal is the poster country for what’s working. Being sandwiched between wildlife trafficking giants China and India, this is no small feat. Surely South Africa and other countries can learn from them.

“We all do better when we work together. Our differences do matter, but our common humanity matters more.” -Bill Clinton

tiger rhino


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Be Wary Animal Lovers

Tourism is helping save wildlife. That’s what we’re told. If this is true, where you spend your next holiday could be the most important decision you make, the world is counting on you.

Cuddling baby lions sound endearing? As cute and cuddly as they seem , you might as well shoot them. This is the first part of the circle of “life” for lions in canned hunts. The cubs are used to entice you there, and ultimately to use your money to help fund the whole operation You feed them, hold and coddle them, sometimes even bottle feed. But ask yourself “Where’s mom?”  (For more on canned hunts, see: Shooting Fish in a Barrel)

lion cubs in cageElephant rides? Not unless you enjoy knowing they are beaten, starved and tortured in order to “train” them to comply. What about the sweet baby elephants rolling on the beach, splashing in the waves? Surely they are enjoying themselves. Sadly no. Once again ask “Where’s mom?” They are torn from their families and enslaved in the name of entertainment. (For more, see: The Dark Side of Thailand Tourism)

elephant trainingA photograph next to a tame tiger in a buddhist temple? Buddhist monks must be peaceful and enlightened. Here tourists unknowingly play into the larger exploitive scheme of the illegal tiger trade. Slight of hand, babies coming and going, tigers seeming drugged, lethargic and often in need of medical help-all part of the famous “Tiger Temple”. Ask yourself “What tiger in the world would willingly let you pet him, let alone get anywhere near him?”  (See: The Tiger Temple…)

chained tiger 2A family trip to Sea World…if you haven’t seen Blackfish, please watch. Psychosis, food depravity, stolen from their families is just a part of the torture the Orcas are subjected to.

Bottom line: please educate yourself on where you’re going. If something doesn’t seem natural for an animal, it’s probably not! Don’t give your hard earned money to people who torture or enslave them.

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Chasing Rhinos with Billy Bush’s on Nat Geo Wild Documentary

Who would have thought,  Billy Bush,  American Television  and Radio Talk Show Host, would team up with the WWF and makes his way to Nepal to work with scientist there and bring the the Rhinos plight to the forefront  and tell their story. Check out the Link for more on this television show now airing on Nat Geo Wild.  on Sundays at 9pm. (first show started Oct 13th) Chasing Rhinos with Billy Bush’s on Nat Geo Wild Documentary   Billy Bush

Tracking Rhino

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